Camilo Restrepo


The Next Big Thing in Miami’s Contemporary Art Scene? Look No Further Than Turin
By Declan Eytan
December 6, 2017

A cocaine-snorting Donald Trump trapped inside Greek mythological figure Hydra of Lerna, surrounded by an army of cartoonish figures on a saliva-on-paper surface. Welcome inside the mind of Colombian artist Camilo Restrepo. This work called Mera Calentura, is one of many by the Medellín-based artist centered around the topic of Colombia’s war on drugs. Works by the artist – who’s represented by Los Angeles gallery Steven Turner – are currently on view at the Santa Monica Boulevard gallery till December 16th, making it the Latin American artist’s fourth solo exhibition. Meanwhile, the CalArts graduate is having a moment in Miami currently, with work on view at Miami Beach art fair Untitled, which coincides with the Americas’ premier art fair Art Basel. Nonetheless, Restrepo’s recent showcase at Turin’s Artissima fair meant his most recent milestone, considering it was his Italian debut. ‘Cause if in the world of pop culture the Golden Globes are considered to be indicative of who shall take home an Oscar, the Turin-based fair arguably fulfills that role within a contemporary art context before the hype eventually ensues in Miami.

Artissima – Italy’s premier fair for contemporary art since 1994 – prioritized the inclusion of cutting edge new talent, in its most recent edition. “I’ve been a curator my entire professional life, prior to accepting the role as Artissima Director,” says Ilaria Bonacossa, who made her directorial debut at the Turin-based fair this year. Bonacossa previously worked as the Artistic Director of Genoa’s Villa Croce contemporary art museum, in addition to working as a curator for Turin’s Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo over the course of seven years. Her aim is to position Turin as world’s cool hub of contemporary art, with Artissima acting as a protagonist inside that universe. A replica of infamous Roman night club Piper, constructed inside this year’s fair, undoubtedly contributed to that essence of Turin cool Bonacossa so eagerly wants to transmit. “The club was very pop, and a hotspot throughout the Sixties and Seventies. In a way, it felt like Italy’s answer to Studio 54. Piper’s Turin location was open from 1966 till 1969 and designed by the radical architect Pietro Derossi.” Derossi gave access to his archives upon Artissima’s request. Under Ilaria Bonacossa’s supervision the club was reincarnated on the fairground, inclusive of a pink ceiling and chairs by Gufram. Inside the Piper pop-up, a slew of events was hosted, amongst which talks by the likes of Dior Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri.

“In my first year as Artissima Director I’ve changed some of the curators, and went for younger individuals which I respect instead – they aren’t so institutional. I like to work with curators that work on more of a freelance basis, as those tend to be quicker when it comes to grasping new talent. I wanted to include young galleries and artists which may be a bit under the radar, as opposed to the usual suspects,” Bonacossa concludes.

Los Angeles gallery Bad Reputation occupied a booth within Artissima’s New Entry section this year, alongside Milan gallery Clima. The latter was founded two years ago, and represents names which include New York-based Dana Lok and Italian artist Cleo Fariselli.

As far as cutting edge is concerned, the booth of Bucharest-based gallery Anca Poterasu filled those shoes by exhibiting works by Romanian interdisciplinary artist Olivia Mihaltianu. Mihaltianu is somewhat of a cinematography and filmstrip fetishist; her work Robe de soirée is the ultimate testament to that. Robe de soirée is a dress made of 33mm film role, worn by Mihaltianu as a teenager in the year 1996. The work is part of Mihaltianu’s Film métrage series; a series which the artist describes as “works developed in the last two decades referring to the physical body of the film material, as well as to the immaterial aspect of the moving image and the endless appetite of our society for producing an endless supply of footage and imagery.”

Now back to Miami.